CASE STUDY: VrCAVE and Infinity VR
Infinity VR - Gainesville, Florida
Infinity VR opened in 2021, running VR shooter games. The concept was working, but 3 months in, owner David Heringer felt like it needed something more. Then, he found vrCAVE’s line of VR escape rooms.
Fast forward to 2023. Infinity VR runs two VR arenas, usually reserving one for an expanded selection of shooters and one for VR escape rooms. On top of that, they offer mobile services for team building and host parties. But whatever the format, it’s the combination of the games and the escape rooms that makes it work.
“Escape rooms are a great addition,” David says. “I think that we would probably not be around anymore if I had not added the escape rooms. Just games alone really weren’t enough for our space.”
For many locations, it does takes that variety. Different people are looking for different things when they walk into a VR arcade, especially when they're walking in for the first time and not even sure of what it is. Some want to shoot zombies. Others will want something more cerebral, more focused on the group.
VR Escape Rooms and the Crossover Effect
If you have one high quality attraction, you'll draw some people in, of course. And you'll get some back — generally those who are predisposed to loving that specific kind of experience. Someone who enjoyed it much more casually will walk away happy, but not in a hurry to come back.
If you've got two high quality attractions? Suddenly you're presenting that more casual customer something much more compelling than just coming back to do the same thing. You've got something that's now familiar (the virtual reality aspect) but new (the type of game they didn't try yet!). Plus, you're making that initial decision to come in the first place easier because you've expanded your potential audience.
"At first, I thought of them as two kinda separate things, but I think there’s a ton of crossover," David says. "There’s very few people who come in and say 'I just wanna do escape rooms,' but it seems to catch their attention."
For some, once they see the escape room format, it instantly connects with them in a way a shooter might not. And that first connection lends itself to others.
"It’s something that is not as animated, so they don’t have to worry about ‘I’m gonna get winded' or 'I’m gonna be running around a lot,' but I’d say 90% of the time they’re like, 'Oh, I gotta come back and play that zombie game,' or vice versa, 'I gotta come try an escape room.'”
Whether it was the escape room or the other games that drew someone, once they try one, they see what else is available and they want to play that too. Or, when they’ve done their first escape room and they see they’ve got many more to choose from? One of the most common things he hears as they finish is, “I gotta get my friend to try the next one with me.”
"I gotta bring more people in."”
It looks like an empty room. To you. But for the players, VR headsets take them to any one of many different VR escape room experiences!
The vrCAVE Escape Room Approach
Promoting the business as a VR arcade helps push the idea of Infinity VR as a place where a group can go and find something for everyone. The advantage of the escape rooms is that they feel approachable. Nobody’s worried that they’ll have to move around too fast or get left behind.
It works because vrCAVE games are built around our mission: bringing people together. We capitalize on the very best aspects of both escape rooms and virtual reality — the bread and butter puzzles that escape room enthusiasts thrive on, while bringing the puzzle-solving concept to a more action-focused finale that involves everyone so that every session finishes strong.
"A standard escape room you’re just getting the puzzles and the feel. There’s a lot more gamification for that end boss, that thing you have to defeat together, that still takes you working as a team."
Because it's one thing to solve the escape room puzzles and get out of jail — but adding a dragon fight to the mix as a final hurdle intensifies the team emotions. Especially when they figure out no, it's not enough to fire the ballista. You need someone loading, someone else aiming, someone defending, and someone keeping watch and coordinating. It's still a group puzzle to find that effective process — you just might get burned a little if you're slow!
Who's playing at Infinity VR?
The beauty of running VR escape rooms alongside other VR games is that the appeal is broad. You've got something for the younger gamers, people who spend hours with their friends in online games who want to try something in-person and shoot some stuff.
But when you offer that slower paced group challenge with more story-like goals like "break the pirate curse" or "save the world from an asteroid", you're presenting something quite different. Something that's going to get all sorts of groups excited.
“I get a lot of families, a lot of couples on date night, groups in their mid to late 20s, early 30s. A lot of times we will have just families, all four or five of them will want to come in, anywhere from 10 years old to grandma.”
The other big thing? Parties. Events. Even corporate team-building. With two arenas, Infinity VR is able to rotate large groups through combinations of escape rooms and the other games in smaller groups, while the rest watch or reflect on their own experiences.
"Adding those parties adding those events, that back and forth of, 'we have the escape rooms in, we have the games'. It lends to a lot more people feeling, 'Oh, this is something I want to do.' It's a lot more inviting for people who have young and old in their event."
Free Roam VR: It's Mind-blowing
What more can you say, really? If you've already tried free roam VR (walking around space with friends, without wires), then you know. And ultimately, that's something that sets a VR arcade apart that home VR can never take away.
"What I do see is that people come into our space and the idea that you can move around, that free roam concept, it just blows peoples minds.
"What I've seen is even with some people who come in and have this crazy $5000 computer and $2000 headset, those same people come in and play and they’re like, 'this is amazing I get to walk around this space and interact and do things.'. They definitely get a lot more into it."
With seven VR escape rooms (and a new one every year), there's always something new to get someone back, regardless of what they're running at home or playing elsewhere. In fact, Infinity VR has even had people come back to try the same room that beat them the first time! People who play free roam VR? They're often hooked from that first experience and want to spread the word.
“That’s the biggest thing we get,” he says. “‘I gotta tell more people, I gotta bring more people in.’”